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Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @ Kansas City Royals

Seattle: 15-12
Royals: 16-11

SUMMARY

MARINERS ROYALS
EDGE
HITTING (wOBA)
-24.0 (27th) -1.2 (16th) KCA
FIELDING (UZR)
11.5 (1st) 2.6 (10th) SEA
ROTATION (pRAA)
23.8 (1st) 21.7 (2nd) SEA
BULLPEN (pRAA)
-2.3 (20th) 5.2 (6th) KCA
OVERALL(RAA)
9.0 28.3 KCA







MARINERS! ROYALS! A battle of first place teams!

I will give a hat tip to anyone who thought before the season started that the above sentence would be written in anything other than jest on May 6th, 2009.

For the first time since I started doing these summaries, the Mariners face a better team than themselves. And not just better, but a whopping two wins better so far this year, which if it held up would project out to be about a 12 win difference. I don't actually think the gap is that large since I doubt Willie Bloomquist is going to continue wOBAing .443 and Zack Greinke, while awesome, isn't likely to continue posting a 1.35 tRA.

Yesterday's game obliterated a lot of value in the Ms hitting and bullpen and over the two game series, they lost a whopping 5.7 runs against average.Denny Stark saw his tRA jump from the low 1s to over 12 with his appearance yesterday marking the second worst relief outing lasting at least an inning so far this season for the Ms. In case you are curious, Sean White's May 1st game ranked worst by tRA. Stark's no great shakes or anything, but as Jeff pointed out, he didn't look much like he did in the first two outings. We should abstain from dooming him to ignominy based on this one outing.

GAMES

Game 1:  vs. Sidney Ponson
Game 2: Jarrod Washburn* vs. Brian Bannister

We get to miss Greinke and Meche, which is good news for us.

Sidney Ponson is bottoming out in terms of missing bats, now down to just 4.5%, and yet has seen his strikeout rate climb to its highest peak since 2003. Hard to figure that those strikeouts will continue. His batted ball profile has been remarkably stable every year in the rotation. He's going to get his ground balls.

Brian Bannister may have been liking where his FIP was trending, but his tRA was trending in the opposite direction and it caught up to him. He was allowing steadily more line drives as he went along, peaking last season. But so far in 2009, Bannister has been a much improved hurler in terms of batted ball results. Unfortunately (for him), he is also missing bats at just a 3.4% rate.

THIS SERIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Saison Brett
Boulevard Brewing Company. Kansas City, MO

A homage to George Brett and not to Brettanomyces yeast. Just in case you were thinking this was some sort of awesome sour Belgian spice beer. Hmm...

Boulevard is a quality brewery which in the Kansas-Missouri region can be somewhat scarce. They just started arriving in WA so keep an eye peeled.